University chapel project selected for $200,000 grant
WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) – The historic Startup Chapel at Williams Baptist University is one step closer to a major renovation, thanks to a $200,000 challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation.
According to a news release, the project is expected to cost $1 million to complete, and the grant will be used to upgrade the interior of the chapel and start construction on a new addition at the rear of the building.
“The Mabee Foundation gift brings our Startup Chapel project much closer to reality,” said Dr. Stan Norman, WBU’s president. “Startup Chapel is an iconic structure on the Williams campus. It is a part of the campus experience that nearly all of our alumni have in common over the decades. It binds together the experiences and memories of generations of WBU students.”
WBU took possession of the chapel, along with several other buildings, in 1947 after the area was used by the military in 1942 during World War II. It’s only one of two original, military buildings left on the WBU campus.
“Our vision is to bring new life to Startup Chapel,” Norman said. “This beautiful chapel, which has meant so much to Williams’ students over the last eight decades, is going to be restored and revitalized. The result will be a modernized facility where memories continue to be made for many years to come.”
The president said the chapel will get comfortable seating, theater lighting, new windows, and a roof, in addition to the construction of the rear of the building.
“The current addition at the rear of Startup Chapel was not part of the original structure,” Norman said. “That addition has become outdated, to say the least. It has a flat roof that leaks badly, and that section of the building is no longer adequate for our needs. We plan to remove that part of the structure and replace it with a beautiful addition which better accentuates the chapel and serves our needs.”
He added fundraising is already underway to help fully fund the project. You can donate by clicking here.
Norman said if they complete fundraising, they hope to begin construction in 2023.
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